Cricket balls, whats inside. Part 3.
12th Jul 2013
Cricket balls, whats really inside and what drives the price?
I often get asked about cricket balls. Whats the best? Whats the cheapest? Why and which cricket balls break cricket bats? etc etc etc and many times ive been unable to answer people simply because of a lack of knowledge. So i decided to do a bit of exploring to see what i could find out. I looked on youtube. That was a waste of time. It had very little information on how cricket balls are essentially put together. I checked on Wikipedia for the ICC regulations of how cricket balls should be made and also came up empty handed. So eventually i just decided that seen as its so hard to figure out whats inside a cricket ball and how they are made i will just cut a couple of them open and see for myself.
Here is what a good cricket ball looks like on the inside.
Youtube will have many many videos showing cricket balls being made but i couldnt find any detail to show exactly what goes into all the different layers of cricket balls. That may be partly because some of the cricket balls i cut open only had 3 layers to them. ( rubber, string and leather ) but many people will agree that the Kookaburra Turf cricket ball may well be the Benchmark all other cricket balls are modelled after. The Kookaburra Turf ball is used by 85% of all international test matches worldwide so that speaks volumes for the quality and reputation of the cricket ball.
The kookaburra Turf cricket ball has a small ( slightly smaller than a golf ball cork / rubber core. Then has 5 layers of cork / string quilted.The leather is not just any old leather. Its Hand selected Australian first grade alum tanned steer hide and is tough as nails.
The problem with this ball is it retails for well over $100 USD and lets be honest, none of us can afford to throw around 5 or 10 of these at our local club practices. So what i will be trying to do in the blog is not to say which cricket balls are the best, but rather educate the everyday club cricketer so they can better understand whats happening on the inside of a cricket ball and perhaps also understand why so many modern balls are classified as bat breakers or perhaps lose shape, shine or hardness to quickly.
This cricket ball seems to have an average centre. People say the problem with having a large cork core like this one rather than the small core with cork / string layers is that is possble for the ball to be unbalanced. An unbalanced ball will not swing like its supposed to and can also have uneven bounce. This ball however is $18 and has a good quality contruction with 2 layers of cork and a good amount of srting as well..I would say that its worth a try with this ball to see how it behaves in nets and also in matches.The coating however which protects the leather was quite brittle and cracked quite easily. A 50/50 ball in my opinion.
Right off the bat i was quite impressed with this ball as far as quality and construction is concerned. But as i dig into it that first impression fades away quite quickly.My only initial complaint was that the small centre core seemed quite hard and i cant pin point exactly what the core is made of. It doesnt seem to be cork or rubber. It may be some sort of wood...Outside of the core it does have a good amount of string and also 4 or 5 layers of cork as you would expect from a good quality cricket ball. The plastic inner caps in this case is a form of cardboard on this ball which im thinking is probably not a good thing. The pastic would be far more durable and flexible where as the cardboard seemed to break easily. The saving grace on this ball seems to be the leather. It has very little protective spray / coating which i think means it will be easy to keep this ball nice and shiny ( for the swing bowlers ) but may suffer in wet conditions. buy this ball at your own risk.
This looks to be a very high quality ball. One of the best ive examined so far in the test. It checks all the right boxes you would expect from a high quality cricket ball. I recommend this ball for all cricket matches. It has a good rubber / cork core, 5 5 external layers of cork with a good amount of string and alos a high quality leather. The one downside to this ball was once again the lack of a protective layer on the leather. BUT thats good for people who like to take care of the ball them selves and get a good shine on it. It may hoever suffer in wetter conditions.
This gray nicolls test special ball seems a little over priced for what you are getting. As you can see from the image there is no string at all, a key component of cricket ball manufacture. It also has a very high cork concentration in the core and a low rubber concentration. My though is if you could name one ball as a bat breaker, this may be it. ( but thats just an opinion. )To make this ball better i would have more rubber in the core and also some string. I would probably expect to see this quality of ball for sale for $8, not $16.
Gunn & Moore County star cricket ball
This cricket ball is quite interesting and i will tell you why. This ball has all the making of a very high quality cricket ball. it check all the check boxes you would expect of a $20+ cricket ball. Small cork core nucleaus, plenty of string, even the 5 layers or cork. The reason i dont like it is because its to hard and when pinging this ball on a bat, it sounds hollw, hard and comes off the bat like a stale piece of bread. I dont recoemmend this ball at all, not even for net practices.
When i picked up this SG tournament cricket ball one thing came to mind. It felt very different to some of the balls i was inspecting ( like the CA balls ) but also felt very similar to other balls i was inspection. Like the Gunn and moore, Gray nicolls and also the slazenger balls. The core nucleaus seemed extremely hard. I wonder who is making balls for GM and GN. it could possible be SG. The 5 cork layers also seemed very dry and brittle as well to me. Overall though the construction looked to be a pretty good quality and i think this ball could be given a chance to see if it works for you and your club for matches. It checks all the right boxes as well. Small core nucleus , 5 layer cork and ample string in the construction.
This is an expensive cricket ball, But i like everything about it. It checks all the boxes and just has a good feel about it. Its pings nicely on a cricket bat and quality is very very good. The one major difference with this ball over the others which you can easily see in the picture is the black rubber core. It has a very small % of cork. This should give the ball a softer feel than if its sold cork. I think in this case its a good thing. I do recommend peoipke try this ball and see if the rubber core helps with the ball performance over longer periods. it will be stronger than just cork and i would be happy to try this ball out in matches. Good luck with your ball purchases.
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